Olazabal: European Tour Suffering Financially Due To Europe's Economic Downturn
Golfer Jose Maria Olazabal said that the inaugural FedExCup-style Final Series that tees off in Shanghai this week "will give the European Tour a much-needed shot in the arm," according to Tony Jimenez of REUTERS. While the rival PGA Tour "goes from strength to strength," the European circuit "has struggled for sponsors and been badly hampered by the absence of headline attractions" like Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood. With the majority of the triumphant 2012 Ryder Cup team basing themselves on the other side of the Atlantic this season, CEO George O'Grady has "had an awkward task in selling the European Tour brand." The Final Series, similar to the U.S. circuit's end-of-season FedExCup extravaganza, is "a sequence of four events" worth more than $30M in total, and starts on Thursday with the BMW Masters in China. Olazabal believes that the tour "is experiencing a financial trough mainly due to the economic downturn in Europe." Olazabal: "The whole of Europe is going through a tough time and I'm pretty sure when we see signs of economic recovery the tour will go back to its origins and will get stronger again. That's the reason the tour is having a tough time getting sponsors" (REUTERS, 10/22).